What are BAM and B4T?
Business as Missions (BAM) most commonly means starting a business overseas as a means to share what God has and is doing in your life. Most choose a business option that will give them natural business contacts with a wide variety of people. Out of those contacts you will have natural opportunities to get to know people and share your life and theirs.
This type of involvement in a society will usually place you in contact with a different cross-section of people than a traditional missionary experiences.
Usually funds are raised in your passport country to cover most of your living costs, as well as the start up funds that are needed.The business covers all of its normal costs but usually not all of your salary and travel costs.
Business for Transformation (B4T) also commonly means you are starting a business overseas, but with an added focus on providing jobs and services of long-term value to the society. The idea is that it becomes a means of transforming or improving society. That usually means a long-term business that is reproducible by nationals.
Because of the desire for this to be reproducible by nationals, the business itself must cover all costs including the founder’s salary after the initial investment and start up. To be reproducible on the local economy it has to be a fully functional business, not dependent on subsidies from outside.
Why do they exist and why are they part of missions?
Both BAM and B4T exist in part as a response to the difficulty of entering many countries where there is a great need to hear the Gospel but where the governments do not wish for their people to hear the Gospel. In those countries, traditional “religious worker” visas do not exist or are not available to Christians.
These options also exist, and always have existed, because God calls people to business just as he calls them to ministry and some have the vision and call to use that gift to also share the Gospel. They go overseas for business and their desire to share what God has done in their lives is a natural part of who they are.
The Apostle Paul made tents to help finance his missionary trips and it also provided natural opportunities to talk to others. William Carey started a number of businesses as part of his ministry in India, including founding schools and a print shop. As you read missionary biographies you will discover many more examples of using business skills as part of ones missions involvement.
Stories and examples of BAM and B4T:
Websites about BAM and B4T:
Articles, books, and podcasts about BAM and B4T:
- What is Business as Missions A good introductory article about BAM
- Steve Rundle: What is Business as Missions
- Business as Mission articles and papers. A curated list of articles, research, and case studies related to the growing BAM movement.
- BAM 360 eBook
- For a free BAM self-assessment – see the bottom of the following post – https://www.goservelove.net/why-marketplace-missions/
- Why is BAM so Hard?
- BAM Resources
- For a list of recommended books, see https://www.theantiochpartners.org/business-as-mission
- Suggested readings by Transformational SME
Conferences, training and workshops about BAM and B4T:
- Free Business as Missions course
- https://www.acedevelopmentfund.org/bam-vancouver/ A BAM Conf in Vancouver BC in Nov 2021.
- BAM Conference in Chicago, Oct 2022
- B4T Expo, Austin November 2023
- Business Development Center, Bangalore, certified by Regent University.
- IBEC Ventures see videos: com/260567758 and Vimeo.com/425603808
Organizations who will help you do business as missions:
“She joined us at MDE, received some quick training (because she was heading out in four weeks), and was connected to our support system.”
- Engineering Ministries International. Many ministries like Engineering Ministries International, train and disciple local professionals who have much greater rapport and entry into their country’s inner circles than foreigners do. These professionals go on to have businesses of their own that create disciples and carry out godly business. For many global workers, a major initial task is building relationships. People in business have an instant and wide range of relationships and connections. They also spend a lot of time with these coworkers since most of our waking lives are spent at work. Society needs the redemptive influence of Christians in the public sector.
- Christar, see write up about Christar on GSL.net. Approximately 540 Christar workers serve in teams throughout the Middle East, Far East, South, Central and Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. They minister through a wide range of creative outreaches and projects, in areas such as education, healthcare, business, community development, IT, communication and the arts.
- Transformational SME
- Agora Enterprises
- Scatter Global offers the following resources:
- Job resources: A job board / Custom job search strategies / Preparation for landing a job overseas
- Blog section: 100+ resourceful posts
- Online Courses to get you ready
- Community: join others walking this path
- Poverty Cure Shows entities that do BAM in various countries around the world. A network of over 400 international partners, large and small, non-profit and for-profit, from a wide range of fields and industries spanning over 150 countries committed to eliminating poverty in a variety of ways. There are a good number of BAM entities in the network.
Disclaimers: The inclusion of an entity in this list does not mean we recommend them. They are included to help give you information about what is being done in marketplace ministries in the secular world as well as in missions. You will need to read, question, analyze and learn.
By the way, BAM and B4T are about operating real businesses overseas. They are not “fronts” for the purpose of getting into a closed country. Your in-country national accounting firm will easily discern whether you are a real business or are being totally subsidized from the US.